A Dream that Shook Me

The dream featured one of the kids in the second series of animation workshops I did, a survivor of childhood cancer, a bright, lovely and creative kid who was sometimes out of control.  His parents loved him to death, his survival had been a miracle, every day was a different struggle and the boy, much indulged, was volatile.   One day he demanded I help him, said he needed me to get him a gun so he could kill himself.  He appeared to be quite serious about suicide, unconcerned with the pain it would cause many people who loved and cared about him.  His mother told me she’d speak to his therapist about it.   On many other days he was the most cheerful and entertaining kid you could ever imagine. Once in a while he was completely out of control, crawling on the floor, responding only with animal sounds.

In the dream he is driving his father’s brand new Mini Cooper east on 73rd Avenue, a two lane street near where I grew up.  I caught a clear look at him as he drove past, alone in the car.  The ten or eleven year-old veered across the line a few times, narrowly missing oncoming cars, coming dangerously close to the parked cars on both sides.  I caught up with him, he was on foot by then, and told him that driving was a complicated business and that he shouldn’t be behind the wheel until he’d had some instruction.  And besides, he was only ten or eleven and it was far too soon to start learning to drive.  

He dismissed these concerns, told me he’d parked the car with no problem and pointed down the street.  I walked over to see that he had parked it, on the sidewalk, perfectly lined up with the white lines of the crosswalk.  I didn’t know where to start: illegal to park in a crosswalk, illegal to park a car on the sidewalk, the tickets his father would get, the towing and impound fees, that he could have easily killed somebody, himself.  

I ran into his father at some kind of party and took him aside to tell him quietly what his young son had been up to.  The man was concerned, but fell silent as the boy approached, eyeing us suspiciously.   “I have to pee,” the kid said.  I pointed out where the bathroom was and the boy went there.  The father thanked me for letting him know and told me he’d deal with the situation.

I woke up in a particularly bleak mood.  The dream, it seemed to me, was an unmistakable proof of the folly of tying to be a one man team in the business of getting a student-run workshop up and running.   Was not the dream that young children can run a workshop as absurd as the kid childishly driving a death mobile?  

I reached for a pen and wrote:  just because he doesn’t actually crash doesn’t make driving a good idea.   Then I added:  but– students run, adults facilitate.

There is always, I’ve noticed, an argument to be made for the other side of almost anything.

This entry was posted in musing.

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